Tag Archives: Sandusky

Penn State: A Season in Purgatory

Possible location of the new JoePa memorial shower?

Possible location of the new JoePa memorial shower?

On Saturday, September 8th, the University of Virginia has a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to demonstrate how an institution obeys the same honor code that governs its students.

The Cavaliers can prove to the world that UVA’s honor code is more than mere words when they refuse to play their football game against Penn State.

But wait, you say, that would be premature. The NCAA has not made its decision regarding possible sanctions. So what. That’s like the 37 neighbors who heard Kitty Genovese screaming for help while being stabbed to death, claiming they didn’t want to get involved because the police hadn’t begun an investigation.

One of the core values at UVA is “honor and integrity.” What’s more, “students are expected to hold themselves and their peers to high standards inside and outside the classroom and to engage ethically in their local, national and international communities.”

How can the university hold its students to a standard it’s not willing to meet? Playing Penn State means turning a blind eye to depravity and what the Freeh report termed “the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.” An individual or institution cannot associate with the dishonorable without tarnishing its own honor.

What Joe Paterno and the See No, Hear No and Speak No Evil cabal did at Penn State was against the law and the laws of decency, but it did not violate NCAA rules. The only role for the NCAA in this scandal is allowing any Penn State player who wishes to transfer to do so without losing a second of eligibility.

Any “death penalty” sanctions the NCAA might take are outside its authority and simply unnecessary if the universities on Penn State’s football schedule live up to the bromides they broadcast to students.

One of the many problems undermining the country’s future is American passivity. We sit and wait for government or some outside “authority” to take action while we check The Drudge Report to see if anything has happened. We don’t trust our instincts on almost anything. We rely on “experts” who tell us how to raise our children, train our dogs and relate to our fellow man.

In the face of great outrage a self–reliant person or institution can and should act individually to try and repair the fabric of society. I believe the operative phrase is “think globally, act locally.”

Sure, refusing to play Penn State and urging the other schools to do the same requires a little more effort and commitment than starting a Facebook page, but the result is much more impressive.

Still I can hear the administration’s objections. Refusing to play the game will result in lost revenue for the football team. What that excuse tells students is UVA’s convictions are rock–solid as long as they are convenient and cost free. Besides this reasoning is eerily similar to the rationalizations Paterno and his shower sleuths used to justify refusing to report child rape to the police.

Where I grew up a decision by UVA to live by its honor code and refuse to associate with a football program defined by lies and exploitation is called putting your money where your mouth is. (Here in Washington I believe the term is a “fiscal commitment demonstration project.”)

Then there is the legal excuse: UVA has a signed contract; the school is committed.  Then break the contract. Surely it contains a “moral turpitude” clause, and if not I’ll contribute to UVA’s legal defense fund.

There is, however, a solution to the revenue problem that allows UVA to maintain its honor. Instead of playing Penn State, UVA plays the University of Ohio, which is Penn State’s first opponent. The Bobcats expected to be annihilated by Penn State anyway; so visiting Charlottesville merely changes the locale of the execution.

Once UVA and Ohio refuse to play Penn State the pressure not to play begins to cascade on the remaining schools. Positive peer pressure — a phenomenon almost unknown in modern America — is revitalized and the rest of the schedule falls into line.

It’s fine if Big Ten conference schools attempt to replace Penn State by scheduling a team that doesn’t bring the ghosts of molested boys into the locker room. Or, on what would’ve been game day, the schools can hold one of the “conversations” that are so popular in academia and discuss “social justice” for little boys.

Refusing to play Penn State is the right and honorable thing to do. Even better, the refusal leaves Joe Paterno with a fitting legacy for his last team. The 2012 Nittany Lions will be undefeated, unscored upon and untouchable.

Sandusky's Lawyer Confirms No Plea Deal

Photo: AP

Joe Amendola, lawyer, ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, confirmed Wednesday that no plea bargain would be pursued.

On Tuesday Amendola waived Sandusky’s right to preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse and requested a trial by jury. He then spoke for over three hours with reporters.  He spent the time bringing the credibility of key witness, Mike McQueary and alleged victims, into question, defended his tactics in the case, and responded to some of the criticisms brought by attorneys representing Sandusky’s accusers.

Earlier on the “Today” show, Amendoal said “There’s never been any discussions about plea bargains on either side of this case, and I don’t anticipate there will be,”. He is hoping Sandusky’s trial will begin by the Summer or Fall.

To date, Sandusky has been charged with over 50 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period. That number has the potential of going up.

Amendola stated that, due to the nature of the crime, a plea bargain would likely result in a life sentence. Not an overly appealing prospect fot the 67 year old Sanduskyn who still maintains his innocence.

After posting $250,000 bail last week, Sandusky remains under house arrest.

 

Three Bills for One Tragedy – Penn State & California-style Solutions

By now the tragic, shocking events that transpired at Penn State are common public knowledge.  Ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was re-arrested last week on new charges of child molestation.  That brings the charges against him up to more than 50 counts.  Longtime coach Joe Paterno lost his job as the investigation continues.  The entire scandal from top to bottom is enough to make this mother two young children weep.  It is heartbreaking, infuriating and disturbing.

Naturally, when a story like this comes to light many people begin to ask the question, “How did this happen? What can be done to make sure it never happens again?”  A worthy question and one that not only the entire Penn State community will have to address, but also educational institutions across the country.  Here in California the question has been posed quite publicly.  The answer?  Why, more bills of course!  CA Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) will introduce a bill that would require all athletic organizations to provide employees with training on how to identify and report child abuse.  That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?  Not necessarily, but consider this: last month two separate California representatives, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and state Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) put forward two separate bills that would also require employees of universities and colleges to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement.  That’s not all…Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has introduced similar legislation in D.C.   Why on earth would three different state politicians propose three different bills that cover the same issue?  Is it because they think 3 times the bills = 1.9 times the caring (I used government math for that one)?

Politics is big business in the state of California.  Besides a salary that averages $113, 000/year and a $162/day per diem (year round, don’t forget), politicians also earn big money with book deals and on the speaking circuit.  How do you become someone others will want to pay to speak at their fundraiser dinners and company retreats?  You pass a bill that has your name on it.  The more sensational, the better.  The Smith-Jones Human Waste bill or Jones-Smith Cat Leash bill simply aren’t exciting enough.  No one is moved (forgive the pun) by bills that deal with human waste and taking cats for walks, as an example ( by the way, these are not real bills…yet.  In Califorina-stan anything is possible when you have a full-time legislature run solely and completely by Democrats).  What you want as a politician is a bill that catches the eye, that speaks to emotions and very real public fears.  You want a bill that proports to solve a problem publicly and definitively, something you can speak about around the country.  You want a bill that identifies you as a public crusader.  It has little to do with content and public safety and everything to do with pride and money.

I understand people want to know that nothing like what happened at Penn State will ever happen again.  I don’t suggest that it is a poor idea to ask educational institutions to train their employees and talk about how to handle (God forbid) such situations, should they ever arise.  I am just like you, dear reader – disgusted and heartbroken at the selfish employees at Penn State who allowed young boys, children to be raped and molested right under their noses for years.  We have laws to deal with such heinous crimes.  But what is needed here is not more laws.  Our nation is drowning in legislation, much of it redundant.  With each new public tragedy there come more and more cries for better laws, stricter laws, updated laws, more specific laws.  There are so many laws on the books to be broken that our jails and prisons are overflowing with petty criminals, causing more violent offenders to be released early to create more room (that’s happening here in California thanks to…another law!)  Its natural to want to prevent more tragedy, but at what cost? In California Governor Jerry Brown has more than 600 bills on his desk awaiting approval before the end of the year.  They range from tighter helmet laws to school athletic awards.  The gridlock in Sacramento makes Washington look like amateurs. We don’t need to legislate common sense.  The national out-cry in response to the Penn State scandal proves that most Americans get that not reporting child abuse is wrong.  Do we really need more laws – THREE separate laws – to confirm that sentiment?

Every tragedy does not require a new law.  Our society would grind to a halt if every terrible accident or event resulted in a new law being passed.  What happened in Pennsylvania was outrageous.  The prepatrator is going to jail, hopefully forever.  Writing new, vague laws that most likely will end up creating even more fraud and trapping individuals in compliance loopholes will not make our kids safer. Just imagine the things that would be reported to the authorities under these new laws.  Every pat on the back, warm squeeze or lingering look could be reported by school employees terrified of prosecution if real allegations are ever proven; not to mention child molesting is a very serious charge and the simple suggestion of it can ruin an innocent person’s life forever.  Its too risky. Look at what’s become of sexual harassment laws in the workplace or the zero-tolerance policies in public schools.  We now have children being suspended for kissing or calling their teachers “cute”.  Why wouldn’t a new law governing issues of sexuality and molestation in higher education turn into the same fiasco?

I too want to ensure this never happens again but adding 3 more bills to the Governor’s desk is not going to change anything for the boys whose lives were destroyed by Sandusky.  We don’t need better laws.  We just need better people…and that subject is a longer post for a different day.